“Jeremiah’s Journey to Egypt”
Pastor David Moore
New Testament reading: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Today’s theme is about living by faith in tough times and to see what has happened to Jeremiah and what has occurred with the nation of Israel.
Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 42:15-16
Hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: If you set your faces to enter Egypt and go to live there, then the sword which you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow hard after you to Egypt, and there you shall die.
So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the Lord, to remain in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they have been driven—the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord.
Therefore thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; ‘Behold I will set my face against you for evil, to cut off all Judah. I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to come to the land of Egypt to live, and they shall all be consumed; in the land of Egypt they shall have their fall.
The path of faith is rarely clean. ~D. Moore
Think of it this way, living by faith in Yahweh has always been difficult. You can’t see Him or even make an image of Him. He is concerned more with righteousness and right living and right thinking than He is concerned with increasing the amount of sheep or goats or crops that you have. Yahweh has always been concerned with how we live, and that is foggy because we are humans. Yahweh is a God of righteousness and grace, of love and consequences. Other gods back then, there was less fog. They didn’t care so much about personal righteousness as that you made the right sacrifice. Then you were promised what you wanted. And Egypt was the place where the lines were so much more clear that there were in following Yahweh. ~D. Moore
“As it turns out, diving all the way into my deepest doubts and fears hasn’t led me away from Christianity, but instead has revealed a richness and beauty to the Christian faith I had never known. It now resonates on a much deeper level, and seems to speak more profound truth than it ever did before. This sort of faith can be difficult and frustratingly foggy at times, but it has an honesty and authenticity that allows it to exist comfortably alongside my skepticism. It allows me to fully engage my brain as well as my heart, and isn’t so easily shaken when faced with the inevitable tough questions.”
Let me say that living by faith is never easy, even at the best of times. ~D. Moore
If they feel at this point like I’m saying nothing is clear in following Jesus. I’m not trying to say that. There are deep connections to God, worship that soars, strength that comes unexpectedly, wisdom and grace come to us sideways from surprising places. Here is the difference; they come from within. God deals with us inside, in prayer—these experiences are not dictated from the outside. Faith invades the fog; it does not eliminate it. Peace comes in the midst of chaos, maturity in Christ and the harmony that comes with it, the assurance that God is good and is with us, it comes slowly, quietly, like the effects of salt and light. These assurances come with a commitment to God, not from others. And this maturity, this grace comes not from trying to control God, not by managing our risk and trying to guarantee the outcomes we desire, but instead trusting God has all things, including us, well in hand. ~D. Moore
God becomes the most real to us when we are at our lowest point, when we allow ourselves to be humbled, when we are most desperate for God and nothing but God. ~D. Moore
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
It is not those who commit the least faults who are the most holy, but those who have the greatest courage, the greatest generosity, the greatest love. ~St. Francis De Sales
We don’t like loose ends. They are always there. It takes spiritual maturity to live in the midst of the moral chaos, to live by faith in a foggy world. We will still take that next step in faith in the God who created us, and He will always love us. God bless you all. May Christ fill your heart and mind this week.